Anyway, here are my four somethings for this month.
This month I enjoyed a trip to Salzburg, Austria, and it was amazing!
Having originally planned to go in 2020, it had been a long wait, but it was definitely worth it.
Seeing locations used in the filming of The Sound of Music was exciting as it has always been my favourite film. My vision of the “spacious place” in my blog title has always looked a lot like the Austrian hills at the start of the movie, so it was amazing to see it in real life, and it is such a beautiful place.
I also enjoyed lots of good food, visited some other tourist attractions, and even got to meet Mozart!
At the end of August, I went to see a dramatised version of The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, which is one of my favourite books. It prompted me to read the follow-up book, “Tramp for the Lord” in which Corrie shares about her experiences of travelling the world after World War 2, sharing a message of hope and forgiveness in Jesus.
One part really struck me: she tells of travelling to a particular place and feeling abnormally tired, overwhelmed and downhearted. She wondered what was wrong with her and eventually realised it was the spiritual atmosphere of the place having an impact on her. After praying about it, she began to feel much better. She writes that as she travelled she also experienced similar things elsewhere.
It got me thinking about the impact the spiritual atmosphere can have. It’s one thing to travel to a new place and notice a change in the atmosphere, but what about when you live there?
I was reminded of the well-known illustration of the frog in boiling water. If you take a frog and drop it into boiling water, it will jump out, but if you put a frog in warm water and then gradually raise the temperature, it will not notice and it will slowly be cooked to death.
I know that I live in an extremely secular culture where there is a lot of spiritual darkness, and this reminded me of the importance of being aware of that and of the impact it can have, and of being faithful in prayer.
There have been times this month when life has felt very heavy, such as coming home from my second funeral in the space of a week to hear of the death of the Queen.
I remembered a quote I saved a while ago which I’m still pondering. It’s quite long, but it’s so helpful and it’s the kind of quote I could think about for a long time and continue to find new insights:
“Why so much complaint of death? It is true, death is the fruit of sin, for by sin, death came into the world. But it is also true, that death is the finisher of sin to the godly – for by death sin shall be cast out forever. Sin, conveyed to us in our conception, is so interwoven with the human frame, that the tie must be dissolved between the soul and body, before a full and final separation can take place between the soul and sin. Who then, would fear the furnace, which is only to consume the dross, that the gold may come forth without alloy? What candidate for heaven would be averse to lay down mortality – in order to take up immortality; to put off this corruptible body – in order to put on incorruption? to have his body sown in dishonor – in order to be raised in honor and glory; and to have the soul dislodged from his body – that sin might be dislodged from his soul?
Why, then, should I be displeased at such a glorious exchange? To lay down frail flesh, feeble nature, all my lusts and passions, all my occasions and temptations to sin, all my infirmities and imperfections – and to be clothed with perfect beauty and eternal glory – should rather transport than perplex me. Why tremble at the ghastly gloom, that shall beam into a boundless noon; or startle at the dark step that shall usher me into eternal day? If my separation for a few years from my friends, issues in uninterrupted communion with God, is not the change most happy? If my distant views, and dim glances of the land afar off, and the King in his beauty, pass away – that the nearest approaches, most steady views, and brightest visions, may eternally take place – am not I a gainer to the highest degree?
Then, Lord, take away the sting of death, and at your appointed time, through faith, I shall fly into death’s arms, not dismayed at his cold embrace – but burning with a heavenly desire to be forever with the Lord – which is far better than all the happiness of crowns and thrones below!” (James Meikle)
I think I’ve mentioned a couple of times on Share Four Somethings about my struggles to get some house repairs organised. This week, after ten months of trying to make it happen, the repairs were finally done!
There have been so many challenges along the way. It has taken huge amounts of time and energy as well as more perseverance than I thought I had, so it feels like a big achievement and I’m so glad it is finally done!
What about you? How has September been for you?
Feel free to share a highlight or prayer request in the comments.